Timberwolves 109, Nets 98
Their latest one came easy, by their standards.
Kevin Garnett scored 32 points and surpassed 10,000 rebounds for his career in Minnesota’s 109-98 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Saturday night.
“We’re on a big roll,” said Garnett, who also had 14 rebounds to become the 32nd player in NBA history to reach the milestone. “We’re playing confident basketball.”
Mark Blount added 15 points and seven rebounds for the Timberwolves, who used a 12-1 run midway through the fourth quarter to win for the ninth time in 12 games.
For the first time this season, the Wolves won a game by more than six points. They improved to 6-1 in 2007.
“We’re not predicting on how we’re going to win,” Garnett said. “In this case, it’s what you have to do to win those games. If that means that it comes down to one of those bar fights or grind-it-out, 48-minute plus games, if it’s what we have to do to win, it’s what we have to do.”
Jason Kidd had 24 points, 13 assists and six rebounds, falling short of his second triple-double in a row for the Nets, who led by five points entering the fourth.
But the Nets never got closer than seven after the Wolves’ decisive run, thanks in large part to Garnett’s 12 points in the period. It was a little redemption for the former MVP, who missed an open jumper as time expired against the Clippers on Wednesday night that would have kept the Wolves perfect this year.
“I think it was surprising for us,” Kidd said. “In the last six games or so, we’ve buckled down in the fourth quarter. Tonight you have to give Minnesota credit. The game was right there for us. When we were up 10, we needed to push it to 15 and put them away.”
Vince Carter had 24 points for New Jersey, rebounding from a slow start brought on by foul trouble.
Carter picked up his third foul less than two minutes into the second quarter and was limited to just five points in nine minutes in the first half.
He made up for lost time in the third period, scoring 10 points to help the Nets take a 77-72 lead into the fourth.
But Garnett came right back, hitting a jumper, then picking up a loose ball and dribbling coast-to-coast before spinning past Bostjan Nachbar to throw down an emphatic dunk and tie it at 81.
Two minutes later, Garnett made a pretty backdoor cut and dunked an alley-oop pass from Trenton Hassell to give the Wolves an 87-81 lead with 7 minutes to go.
“He’s a leader in the post and he stepped up in a big way,” Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. “But it was individual and team breakdowns that put us in a bad way.”
After recording the 82nd triple-double of his career against Chicago on Thursday, Kidd got off to a fast start against the Wolves, who came out a little flat in the second game of a back-to-back.
Kidd didn’t appear to be deterred by his highly publicized marital woes, putting up 12 points, eight assists and five rebounds in the first half and giving the rookie Foye a lesson in how to be disruptive on both ends of the court.
Earlier this week, Joumana Kidd was served with a restraining order obtained by her husband, and on Tuesday Jason Kidd filed for divorce from his wife of 10 years, Joumana, citing “extreme cruelty” and saying that he was an abused spouse.
Joumana filed a restraining order of her own on Friday, with her lawyer alleging that there was “a lot, a lot, of physical violence.”
“We all have distractions that we all deal with off the court,” Frank said before the game. “What you challenge yourself to do is to focus while you’re present at your job.”
Wolves F Marko Jaric missed his second straight game with a thumb injury on his shooting hand. Coach Dwane Casey said they are going to let him rest it for a few games before bringing him back. … Carter and Kidd both congratulated Garnett on the court when his rebound milestone was announced in the third quarter.